Ellen van Dijk takes time trial victory at a windswept Healthy Ageing Tour

The former world champion takes Trek-Segafredo's first win of the season on a good day for the Brits

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former world time trial champion Ellen van Dijk took Trek-Segafredo’s first race win of the year at the Healthy Ageing Tour on Thursday.

The Dutch rider mastered the windswept, flat coastal course blasting past five of her minute women to clock 20.53 for the 14.4km course.

Despite her commanding lead the race was close with a cluster of excellent times coming late on.

German champion Lisa Brennauer (Canyon-SRAM) pushed the Dutch rider close, with a time of 21.23 to take third, and SDWorx’s Amy Pieters rode out of her skin to take second, some 26 seconds back.

However, Van Dijk, who started the day 10 seconds behind the GC will take a lead into of 23 seconds into Friday’s final stage.

Her average speed of 41.37kph was remarkable considering the extreme high wind which had seen the race postponed from a morning start to the afternoon. Even with the postponement 45kmh winds made the stage uncertain, and organisers decided to remove the start ramp and only road bikes were permitted.

It was an excellent day for the Brits, with four women in the top 15. Jos Lowden was sixth with a time of 21.36, while national champion Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) was second eight seconds behind.

After finishing fourth in yesterday’s sprint stage, Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) was ninth with a time of 21.56, while former double world champion Hayley Simmonds was 15th.

How it happened

The Healthy Ageing Tour is known for its flat, windy parcours, with the elements helping split the race rather than the geography. It has also always included time trials to create dynamism and gaps on the classification, and this year was no different. 

Some of the world’s best have scored overall wins based on their time trial performances including the absent world champion, Anna van der Breggen (SDWorx).

Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT) and Ellen van Dijk, world champions against the clock in 2014 and ’13 respectively, are two previous winners present at the Dutch race this week, hoping for a repeat success, with the Trek-Segafredo rider aiming for a fourth overall victory.

The test tackled an out and back 14.4km route in the tiny North Sea coastal village of Lauwersoog, and the route was as exposed as is imaginable and organisers delayed the start by five hours in the hope 60kmh winds would drop. The winds did drop throughout the day and through the race making a tough day for the early starters.

Despite the mitigation put in place those riders were tossed all over the narrow road by the cross wind coming across the completely flat road, with its lowest point being 50cm above sea level, and the highest 2.5m.

Though 23 year-old Brit, Clover Murray (CAMS-Tifosi) was the first down the ramp, it was DSM’s sprinter Lorena Wiebes, apparently recovered from a crash in stage one, who crossed the line first, setting a time of 24.15.

Her lead did not last long though, as former British champion Hayley Simmonds obliterated that time, clocking 22.16 to take the lead a lead of 50 seconds ahead of the new next fastest woman. 

Simmonds though did not stay on the leader’s hot seat for long as first Mieke Kröger (Germany) shaved four seconds of her time, before her compatriot Hannah Ludwig (Canyon-SRAM) clocked 22.01.

Having started half way through the day Van Dijk set her time early, but it was an exciting close to the day with a number of riders setting challenging times. Last

Tomorrow the race moves inland and south for the final stage and another circuit, this time around the VAMberg, the 48m high hill built on a rubbish tip which annually hosts the Ronde van Drenthe and witnessed the 2020 Dutch national championships, organised by the same team as the Healthy Ageing Tour.

The climb is tackled twice on each 6.6km lap, has cobbles and takes no prisoners with steep gradients, so the peloton is due for a gnarly day out.

Result

Healthy Ageing Tour stage two, Lauwersoog - Lauwersoog (14.4km, individual time trial)

1. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo in 20-53

2. Amy Pieters (Ned) SDWorx at 26 sec

3. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT at 30 sec

4. Emma CNorsgaard (Den) at 36 sec

5. Lisa Klein (Ger) Canyon-SRAM at 39 sec

6. Jos Lowden (Gbr) Drops-Le Col at 43 sec

7. Alice Barnes (Gbr) Canyon-SRAM at 51 sec

8. Teuntje Beekhuis (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1-02

9. Anna Henderson (Gbr) Jumbo-Visma at 1-03

10. Daniek Hengeveld (Ned) HT Krush Tunap at 1-05

General classification after stage two

1. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo in 3-34-56

2. Amy Pieters (Ned) SDWorx at 23 sec

3. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT at 25 sec

4. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar at 33 sec

5. Lisa Klein (Ger) Canyon-SRAM at 39 sec

6. Jos Lowden (Gbr) Drops-Le Col at 41 sec

7. Alice Barnes (Gbr) Canyon-SRAM at 45 sec

8. Teuntje Beekhuis (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1-02

9. Anna Henderson (Gbr) Jumbo-Visma at 1-02

10. Daniek Hengeveld (Ned) HT Krush Tunap at 1-05